The opening group game pitted the boys against BIBA. The deadlock was broken early on by wing-wizard Oliver Kerry who surged through the heart of the BIBA defense before firing a shot past the onrushing goalkeeper. The boys dictated the pace of the game with Archie Carlin controlling the game from the middle of the park and Gaspar giving opposition defenders a headache with his constant runs in behind. Two more goals followed with Kerry adding to his earlier strike before defender Joshua Masuka grabbed himself a goal with a neat finish moments before the full time whistle. A great start and a comfortable 3-0 win to kick-start the campaign.
The boys followed up their opening win with a hard fought 1-0 victory over ‘Dulwich B’. After several chances had gone begging, the game looked destined for a 0-0 stalemate until substitute Abdul-Wase had other ideas. With the game entering its final minutes a loose ball found Archie Carlin who fed Abdul racing through on goal. Wild celebrations where sparked as the Sanlitun forward hammered the ball into the roof of the net! Two wins from two and the confidence was certainly growing amongst the squad.
BSB Sanlitun entertained BWYA in their third group game. The boys full of confidence wasted no time in taking the lead as high pressing from Kerry, Carlin and Abdul-Wase resulted in Archie Carlin grabbing his first goal of the day. Further goals were to follow, as a barrage of attacks left their opponents shell-shocked. Oliver Kerry helped himself to two more goals, Abdul’s persistence and tireless work rate up front earned himself a brace whilst Gaspar opened his account with a neat finish. Archie Carlin provided the Cherry on top of the cake with a fine individual goal moments before the full time whistle. The only dampener on the emphatic scoring was the two goals conceded however both were extremely well taken strikes from outside of the area.
‘NTA B’ where next in line for the boys. Oliver Kerry got BSB Sanlitun off to the perfect start with a goal inside the opening 10 seconds. A timely interception in the opponents half left the Sanlitun midfielder with only the goalkeeper to beat and he calmly applied the finish! Stern defending from Marco and Josh kept the NTA forwards at bay until the result was put to bed with 5 minutes to go as Kerry doubled his tally with a fine individual effort, beating multiple defenders before blasting home. Josh Masuka added the exclamation mark to the score line as he netted his 2nd goal of the day with a well taken finish!
The boys consolidated top spot in the group with a resounding 7-0 victory against BSB Shunyi C. A flurry of strikes ensured total domination was rewarded with the boys sailing through to the knockout stages as group winners. Goals from Archie Carlin (2), Oliver Kerry and Gaspar gave the lads a sizeable winning margin before Joshua Maskua helped himself to a late hat trick!
5 wins from 5 games, plenty of goals scored and rock-solid defending ensured that BSB Sanlitun progressed to the quarter finals with a 100% record!
Onto the knockout stages we went and Sanlitun were drawn against Harrow in the Quarter Finals. The tight and tense affair soon turned into the ‘Oliver Kerry Show’ as the BSB Sanlitun midfielder produced a stunning individual performance grabbing all 4 goals including some phenomenal solo efforts along the way! Rocky Jing was keeping the door shut at the other end assisted by some tight defensive work by Marco and Joshua. The boys sealed a comfortable win and progressed into the semifinals with ease.
BSB Sanlitun now found them just a step away from the final as they faced pre-tournaments favorites and co-hosts NTA Academy A. A frantic opening period saw chances go begging for both sides in addition to some overly physical approaches by NTA. The boys found themselves a goal down for the first time in the tournament as a low drive from the NTA forward whistled through a crowd of players and nestled into the far corner leaving Rocky Jing with no chance in the BSB goal. The boys picked themselves up as they bombarded the NTA goal with countless efforts on goal. With the game approaching the final few minutes, Oliver Kerry drove right through the heart of the defense and hammered in the equalizer sparking wild celebrations!
With the game tied at 1-1 and the momentum most certainly with BSB Sanlitun there seemed to be only one winner. However in the dying seconds a rare NTA attack resulted in a long range effort heading wide of Rocky Jing’s goal, deflected off the back of Marco and flew into the far corner. The game barely had a chance to restart as the full time whistle was blown ending Sanlitun’s chances of 1st place.
The boys sunk to their knees however all was not lost as they had to dust themselves down for the 3rd/4th place play-off vs rivals BSB Shunyi. Archie Carlin gave the team a deserved 1-0 lead however fatigue began to creep in and 3 late BSB Shunyi goals ensured that the lads had to settle for 4th place.
Mr. Magson was immensely proud of the boys and although their efforts and performances deserved much more, promising signs lie ahead for the rest of the season. A bit of luck was the only thing that was missing in a day of high quality performances from start to finish.
Well done boys, we go again!
By Thomas Magson